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Kinda frustrated and looking for some input

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LaynaDon95, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, so my parents bought me a trio of Muscovies quite a few months back. I think they are broken. The drake almost never mates the girls. I have seen him attempt to mate one of the hens precisely once since I got them and he failed. [​IMG] The girls don't sit. Well, one of them did, but 3 of her 7 babies died of unknown causes. The other doesn't even think about it. And even if she did, I don't think her eggs would even be fertile! My parents are not happy about buying feed for them because they are not doing anything useful. They were keeping the fly population down pretty well, but they aren't even doing that now. [​IMG] No eggs, almost no bug control, almost no babies. What the heck? Does anyone have suggestions? Because if they don't start doing something they are gonna have to go. I read all about how muscovie ducks were supposed to be this great homesteading bird. Like I said, I think mine are broken.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Hi, LaynaDon95,

    Can we move the "camera lens" back a little and learn about their environment?

    How old are they?

    What do they eat?

    What is their living quarters?

    What other animals are around?

    What is their day like?

    How much time do you spend with them? (not a guilt thing, just an observation opportunity question)
     
  3. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The "parents" are under 2, but I'm not sure by how much. The "ducklings" are roughly 4 1/2 months old. They are eating wet Dumor 16% laying pellets mixed with fermented laying scratch. That is a fairly new diet, though. They have only been eating it for about a week and a half. Before that it was dry Dumor 16% laying pellets. They sleep in the coop with my chickens, but free range all day from about 7:15 until the sun goes down. The only other animals they are around are my chickens, which they get along with fine. They basically leave each other alone. The dogs come up with me when I'm feeding, gathering eggs, etc. but do not have access to them unless they are with me. But the dogs leave the ducks alone, other than the occasional curious sniff. Their average day is something like:
    Let out of the coop and fed - 7:15-7:30
    swim in the pool (well, the ducklings do. The older ones don't use the pool much.)
    free range through the garden, compost pile, yard (2-ish acres)
    sit in the coop lazily and talk to each other
    free range some more
    go to bed
    rinse and repeat
    I go up to the coop regularly. As often as I can sneak away. ;) But they don't like me much. They are not very sociable. On average I am at the coop about 4 times a day.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Miss Lydia keeps Muscovies. She may have some more insights.

    But I am thinking that they are seasonal layers (and breeders), and it is getting late in the season. It is possible they may have some kind of subacute health problem as well.

    Do you give them poultry vitamins with electrolytes and perhaps probiotics?

    You mentioned they don't do anything about the flies any more. When did that start (I know it is unlikely you know a date, but, about how long)?

    From what I read on the forums, first time mothers don't always get it right with the brooding and duckling care.
     
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Are the drakes getting a layer feed? my understanding is that is not a good idea as they do not need the extra calcium. I use a flock raiser since i have drakes/ducks and offer free choice oyster shell. Also at 4.5mths a layer feed doesn't make much sense, most ducks don't begin laying till 5-8mths old, i did have a few that started at 4mths but that is on the real early side.

    Onto the next issue, it's winter basically... short daylight hours, cold will knock laying out the door and pretty much breeding... i notice your texas so not what i am but still i imagine there would still be some effect seasonally speaking.

    First clutches are tricky, i bred my muscovies this past summer with mixed results, in the end i did get 10 live ducklings though. However, we did experience loss and some poor motherhood that said these are young birds(all under 2yrs) so first rounds can be hit n miss with varied results.

    I only keep Muscovy here and have had over 20 in the almost 2yrs we have kept them, mine are still foraging even in these cold temps and adore water, that said none of the girls are laying and mating has decreased to almost none due to the cold... FWIW i have 10 now, 2 drakes and 8 ducks(4 of the ducks are young, 5mths and 3mths aprox) the rest are adult/mature birds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  6. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The "babies" had starter then grower when they were separate with their mama, but when I added them to the rest of the flock (or rather, they added themselves) it became impractical to feed them separately. I tried, but it was not worth it. They didn't like it and neither did I. To be quite honest the chickens are my first priority. They have to be, because they are my parents' flock and the chickens are their first priority, so I can't really change their whole diet to accommodate the drake. Though I do appreciate your advice. I know if I choose not to change it, and it is the problem, then I choose to have the problem.

    I know that they don't mate or brood much if at all during winter, but I got them early summer, maybe even late spring. The other hen did not brood (which isn't that big a deal, and the lady I got her from said she had taken her off of a nest to give her to me, so I figure she was unhappy about that.) but my main concern is that the drake simply does not mate the girls. No matter the season. I'm hoping it was the stress of rehoming, and now that they are settled in, come warmer weather they will, I dunno, do something. [​IMG]

    I don't think it was bad mothering that caused the ducklings' deaths. They kept getting sick with really weird symptoms. One had vet confirmed Aspergillos (sp?) but I think it was a secondary infection that killed her, because the symptoms weren't right for Aspergillos.

    Anyways, I hope that made sense. I feel like I was kinda rambling. My thoughts are ping-ponging all over the place right now. Maybe I should just wait a few more seasons and see what they do?
     
  7. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have Poultry nutri-drench and rooster booster electrolytes/vitamins/porbiotics that I put in their water occasionally, yes.
    As far as the flies go, it's an on and off thing. There are no flies at the coop today, but last week sometime I had to walk through a cloud of them to get to the coop.
     
  8. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

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    ducks who are adult or of laying/breeding age who are moved will sometimes just stop laying because of the change. Muscovy are known for being seasonal layers so at this time of the year they are more likely to be putting on weight for winter, than laying. if over fed commercial feed they wont forage. they will take the free easy to get meal and enjoy the easy life. This doesnt mean starve them, but do make them get up and get moving some. If you live where it turns cold, the bugs will all but vanish as well, so that doesnt encourage them to forage either.

    if you want ducks for eggs look at a high yield laying breed like khaki campbells and runner bred for eggs or even the hybrid 300's from Metzers.
     
  9. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even though they were adults when you got them, they may not have started laying because of the change in their home. They may have needed time to settle in and then, when settled it was too late in the year for them to start.
    Although muscovy are known to be good brooders and good mothers, every duck is an individual.
    As for mating, unless you are out there 24/7 you may not see the mating.

    In the best situation, drakes would not be fed a layer ration but it is unavoidable for many. I would be more concerned about the younger birds getting layer ration but again if there is nothing you can do about it, just hope you have no problems.
    Muscovy are typically very good mothers so I am surprised that you lost so many ducklings. I had a duck hatch out 11 early this year and they all survived.

    You can let your parents know that they should be eating their weight in bugs so that would be reason in itself to keep them around even if they aren't laying. [​IMG]
     
  10. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've read/heard that some ducks do not care for fermented feed. And my ducks (not 'Scovies) never touch wet feed. I will add that Miss Lydia is a great person to ask. Good luck with your flock.
     

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